Two poems by Emily Tuttle

Gestalt’s Rules of Grouping or What Happened after the Police Broke up the Party

1) Proximity

“Objects or shapes that are close to one another appear to form groups.”

A and B standing next to each other at a party—A is she and B is he, not that it matters, but some people like to know, and whenever you see A and B, A appears to be laughing, counting how many molecules are caught between them, silently hating the way B’s air lingers a little too close.

2) Similarity

“We see objects that resemble each other as part of the same object.”

A hopes this is not true, but notices how A and B are always sung very closely, even if A prefers S or G or R. It does not matter how far away A might feel to all of them. Perhaps this is why, when the police came, A asked B if he wanted to crash at her place.

3) Closure


4) Good Continuation

“Even when something intersects the first object, they are still seen as one object.”

B likes to intersect things—B’s lips will intersect, B’s tongue will intersect, B’s hands will intersect. A will intersect as well, not because she has not, but because A hasn’t intersected anything recently. She says halfheartedly they should probably stop, because B will think more deeply than she does, read more intently than she will. They intersect for hours.

5) Good Form

Unable to determine—the form was lost in the inexplicable passion of two letters who didn’t necessarily care for each other. Form melted away into something immeasurable. Refer back to intersecting.

6) Connectedness

Will depend on whether you ask A or B. B will sweat; linger on thoughts like stroking the petals of beautiful flowers, so often they fall from the stem. A will forget and let alcohol carry the memory away in a Viking funeral of marijuana smoke on a vodka sea. B will ask for moments—A will give them away. Connectedness tends to fade.

Gestalt concludes that A will write a poem, and B will develop a stutter—neither will be able to tell the story without stumbling.


First Time

On the way to the party,
Danny tells us the story
of his first boner.

He was in middle school,
and she was sucking
a lollipop—

he emphasizes,
like that matters.

We picture it
the syrup of the candy

coating her lips as
she pushed and pulled
back and forth,

building that thin, pink ring
around her mouth.
And I was wearing gym shorts!

He laughs.
What am I supposed to do
if I’m wearing gym shorts?

The boys in the car laugh too
like a parliament.

Why was she sucking
a lollipop?
I ask.

If you were in gym,
why was she eating

a lollipop?
He laughs,
You don’t get it.

And the car agrees, shouting,
until I stop asking.
I don’t think

he understood my question.




Emily Tuttle is a graduate of the University of Maryland, and was editorial assistant to Poet Lore. She has been published in District Lit, Blotterature, and 805Lit, among others.



(Front page image via)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *